Health Supply Chain System in Uganda: Assessment of Status and of Performance of Health Facilities

Health Supply Chain System in Uganda: Assessment of Status and of Performance of Health Facilities

By: Eric Lugada, Irene Ochola, Anthony Kirunda, Moses Sembatya, Sheila Mwebaze, Martin Olowo, Denis Okidi Ladwar and Henry Komakech 

Publication: Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice, 5 October 2022 DOI:



Health supply chain systems are essential for effective and efficient healthcare systems by ensuring availability of quality essential medicines and health supplies. While several interventions have been made to ensure the availability of quality essential medicines and health supplies, health facilities continue to report stockouts in Uganda.


This study aimed to assess the status and performance of the supply chain system across all levels of care in health facilities in Uganda.


This was a cross-sectional study conducted in 128 public and private-not-for-profit health facilities across 48 districts in Uganda. These facilities included all levels of care from Health Centres II, III, IV, general and referral hospitals, and national referral hospitals. Data were collected using desk reviews, health facility surveys, and key informant interviews with key personnel. Stock registers were reviewed to assess the availability of a basket of essential medicines based on the essential medicines list of the Ministry of Health.


Less than half (42%) of health facilities had computer hardware. Most (84%) of health facilities were using a form of Logistics Management Information System with only (6%) were using the Electronic Logistics Management Information System. Just under a third (33%) of health information officers and (51%) of public health officers’ positions were filled in the health facilities. Nearly (66%) of health facilities used supply chain data to support decision-making. Most (84%) of health facilities reported stockouts of Essential Medicines and Health Supplies in the past 6 months. The main reasons for stockouts were (59%) a sudden increase in demand (40%) delivery gaps/delayed deliveries and (35%) discrepancies in orders and deliveries. Health facilities responded to stockouts through various means including (75%) redistribution (43%) purchased from a distributor, and (30%) placing emergency orders.


The findings from this study show that the performance of health facilities in different supply chain processes and functions was defective. To improve the supply chain performance of health facilities, it is important to invest in infrastructure development, provide computer hardware and internet connection and strengthen  the capacity key personnel. This is key for ensuring full functionality of the supply chain and availability of quality medicines and health supplies to the end-user.